Being an offbeat traveling host: Germans friends at my place in India

Knowing that Indian cultural values would be of paramount importance in there, I already had briefed them about the culture and how we were supposed to behave. Because in rural India, still smoking in front of elders or girls wearing short clothes are not regarded well. So, I had briefed them so that they did not look odd out and could easily mingle with us.
While going on visiting local places might present different problems. So, It was always better to ask them to not to talk much with people; not to buy things on their own. 

Next day, we decided to go to Bodhgaya, the place of enlightenment of lord Buddha. On the way, we crossed an animal fair and my uncle wanted to stop by which was in suburbs of Bodhgaya. 

At animal fair, a new born calfAt animal fair, a new born calf

I was surprised to see people mistaking me as guide and sometimes discussing that I would make a lot of money out of them because foreigners were beside us.  a few even asked me if I was their guide. And the animal fair was also, I think, first time unique in their life where they saw a cow giving birth to calf. That was really surprising for Nadine and even she clicked the picture.
Then, we moved on to see the place where the lord Buddha got the enlightenment. The Mahabodhi temple, a world heritage site. There we spent the whole day and we also went to local market and local shops.

At BodhgayaIn the Mahabodhi Temple complex

They were really surprised to see the amount of people in the market in the evening and how much people honk in the busy market. They were also surprised at the amount of time people spend in shopping and bargaining at local shops.
Next day, we went to Rajgir and Nalanda university.

Ropeway to rajgir peace PagodaRope-way to Rajgir peace Pagoda

A university which existed hundreds of years ago and which hosted thousands of students and hundreds of teachers. It was little tougher to find an English speaking guide because, local people act as a guide there for making their livings. Since more than 99% of the visitors are Indian, it is not a problem for them to make them understand. So, the guide would explain to us in Hindi and I would translate that to English for them. Which was really amusing, the three-way communication.  A question would by asked by them to me and from me to guide and he would reply to me and I translate it to them.

At Nalanda UniversityAt Nalanda University excavation

To my native village: 

The road was from Gaya to my village is around 100 Kms and they were not at all in good condition. First time in my life, I felt like it was some parts of Africa, we went crossing across. Driving 100 kms took at three hours almost triple the amount of time in Europe and moreover, the ride was bumpier because the roads were not at all in good condition and they were dustier too.
We, of course, had entered into one of the remotest places of BIhar which was still counted as one of the most underdeveloped districts with no electricity, no medical facility, no education, no proper roads and no general facility to general public at all. That place had been a victim of political disagreement where the development has been delayed and is in dilemma.
Later I came to know that staring at westerners make them really frustrated. And worse happened when small kids, after seeing them, started following us.

Filming a village

Finally, we reached home and I decided to show them the village. We roamed around for sometimes through old streets, clay huts, farming and dusty streets.
As far as I know, Germany does not have any caste system and my friends were really surprised to see people paying regards to my dad and even sometimes me. Because we are Brahmins, uppermost class and its usual in villages. I personally, hate it when elders play me respect.
It was evening and sun had gone down and it was dark everywhere. Small Kerosene lamps tried to fill away the darkness and it was time for Nadine to step into Indian get-up. Ladies from my family enjoyed gracing her in Indian get up. She loved putting Heena colours and wear Indian Bangles.

A foreign girl in Indian get upNadine in Indian get-up

Next day, my friends had to catch train from Gaya railway station to Kolkata again and we had to leave early morning. We began around 4 in the morning and we reached at the station much before arrival of the time. 

At Gaya railway station

 Before catching the train

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About trekkerp

Author of The Girl from the Woods and a Travel writer from India looking forward to collect quirky tales from around the world

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